Accountants analyze, organize, and prepare financial records. Some accountants handle the books for private companies, organizations, or government agencies.
Others assist clients on an individual basis, particularly during the January-April tax-filing season. Accounting is a large field, and there are more than 1.3 million accountants and auditors currently employed in the United States.
Most entry-level accountant positions are attainable with a bachelor's degree in accounting, or a degree in business or finance with an accounting concentration. Accounting bachelor's programs cover the federal income tax, managerial cost accounting, and other core areas of the profession, while also reviewing the various laws and ethics that guide professionals in their daily activities.
Today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor's in accounting degree online, rather than in a traditional classroom. Web-based programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as brick-and-mortar offerings, and distance education is much more convenient for many students. The asynchronous, or self-paced, format that most online programs use is ideal for students who must balance school work with childcare, work, or any other commitments that make attending class on campus difficult.
Read on to learn more about accounting as an academic discipline and to discover the career opportunities you can look forward to with a bachelor's degree in the field.
The Best Online Accounting Programs of 2019
Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online accounting programs in the United States. If you want to become an accountant, and you value the opportunity to pursue your degree online, read on to learn more about the top online accounting programs in the country.
Colorado State University Global
|Greenwood Village, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Though located in Greenwood Village, Colorado, Colorado State University offers degrees to remote students through its Global Campus. CSU Global receives programmatic accreditation for its bachelor of science in accounting from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and students can complete this degree entirely online, though it does require a practicum. The university encourages applicants to obtain two years of work experience in any field before applying.
This online accounting degree aims to teach students about legal compliance and ethics, finance, marketing, leadership, economics, and quantitative decision-making. Students must complete 120 credits to graduate, and 51 of those credits include accounting-specific courses. CSU Global encourages students to apply transfer credits to help meet degree requirements, but individuals without transfer credits may still apply.
Some major classes include applying leadership principles, principles of accounting, introduction to marketing, business law, and auditing. This program also requires a capstone and an accounting practicum, where students must work in an accounting department and complete assignments related to their practical experience. Learners can add on an accounting-related specialization, like marketing or business administration.
After earning this accounting bachelor's degree online, graduates have the skills to prepare, analyze, and confirm the accuracy of financial records, ensure taxes get paid properly and on time, organize and maintain financial records, and identify ways to reduce costs and improve profits. Individuals in this field can work in private, public, not-for-profit, and government organizations, usually as accountants or financial advisors.
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Students can earn a bachelor's of science in accounting from Western Governors University, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. This program requires 150 credits, and most graduates finish in 20-48 months. WGU charges tuition based on six-month terms, so learners can save money by completing the program faster. The program is asynchronous and completely online, and graduates are qualified to take the CPA certification.
Incoming students may use transfer credits to help meet the program's requirements. On average, students transfer about 38 credits that count toward their degree. The program includes core subjects like English, statistics, and algebra, but focuses primarily on teaching students how to read spreadsheets, understand business ethics and strategy, and perform accounting and tax basics.
In addition to accounting classes, learners also take leadership, management, economics, marketing, finance, and human resource classes, so ensure a well-rounded business education. The program also includes a capstone project where students must solve an accounting problem described in a case study.
WGU receives regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which is a major accrediting commission recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
|Minneapolis, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
The University of Minnesota offers an online bachelor of science in accounting, which prepares students for careers as accountants and CPAs. The 120-credit program is fully online, making it a great option for working professionals. Out of those 120 credits, 63 credits are specific to accounting, and students can also add a minor. Graduates can work in various settings, including government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and private practice.
This online accounting degree prepares students for varied careers, including as financial accountants, auditors, financial analysts, and personal financial advisers. Classes for this accounting program include spreadsheet applications, microeconomics, managerial finance, income tax, and principles of marketing. Thanks to the broad topic range, graduates leave the program with a wide skill set that can be applied to other disciplines and careers, like marketing or business.
In order to apply, individuals must submit an online application, official high school transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores. Students may also earn a Certificate of Taxation from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to advance their accounting careers. The school also provides students with a chance to earn CPA certification, although license requirements vary by state, so verify your local rules. UMN has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Liberty University resides in Lynchburg, Virginia, and offers an online bachelor of science in accounting. The 120-credit program typically takes three years to complete, and students can complete the entire program online through eight-week courses. Applicants must have a 2.0 GPA to be admitted in good standing, but students with a lower GPA may be admitted through acceptance on caution.
Liberty's online accounting program maintains programmatic accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and incoming students may transfer up to 90 credits from another accredited university. Liberty aims to keep tuition as low as possible for students, so tuition rates did not change in the past three years. In addition, students can save money on books because Liberty provides electronic copies for each course.
This online accounting degree prepares students to work in both the private and public sectors as accountants, credit or budget analysts, auditors, or financial planners. Since Liberty is a Christian institution, students learn how to approach ethical accounting dilemmas from both moral and biblical perspectives.
General education classes include science, technology, literature, critical thinking, and theology, while accounting-related classes include financial, managerial, and advanced accounting. Liberty also offers tuition discounts for military students and first responders.
Florida Atlantic University
|Boca Raton, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
Florida Atlantic University is in Boca Raton, Florida, but its online students reside in states all across America. FAU offers an online bachelor of business administration with a major in accounting, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Graduates go on to become chief financial officers, cost department supervisors, industrial buyers, loan administrators, and public accountants.
Through the program, students learn accounting basics with an emphasis in business administration, taking courses like money and banking, global strategy and policy, quantitative methods in administration, and international marketing. FAU requires a C minimum in all business and accounting coursework applied toward a degree. The program doesn't require a capstone, practicum, or internship, so students can complete the degree entirely from a laptop.
This 120-credit program prepares students to take the CPA exam in Florida, but some other states require 150 credits to take the test. FAU encourages students to check local state requirements before enrolling in the program.
To apply, students must submit an online application, an application fee, a self-reported student academic record, and ACT or SAT scores. This program is completely online, meaning students can complete the program while working a busy job or fulfilling military duties. Florida residents benefit from a significantly lower tuition rate.
University of Maryland University College at Universities at Shady Grove
|Rockville, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
The University of Maryland University College offers a hybrid bachelor of science in accounting through the Rockville, Maryland campus of Universities at Shady Grove. It is a hybrid program, so students must be able to attend some classes in Rockville to complete the degree. In addition to core classes, this program requires 28 credits of minor or elective courses.
Classes include accounting information systems, federal income tax, internal auditing, fraud, and forensic accounting. These courses prepare students to communicate with both financial and nonfinancial audiences, make important financial decisions, develop an ethical code, create reports, and manage finances for federal agencies. This program is also available as a minor.
The program requires 120 credits, though many states require 150 credits to take the CPA exam, so applicants should check local requirements before enrolling. The program also prepares students to take other certification exams, including certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, certified fraud examiner, certified financial manager, and certified government auditing professional.
To apply, students must submit an application, an essay, a nonrefundable application fee, and official high school transcripts. Transfer students must also submit official college transcripts.
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Located in Denver, Colorado, Regis University offers a bachelor of science in accounting program for undergraduate students. This degree can be completed online or at the Denver campus. For students who wish to complete their degree quickly, the university offers an accelerated eight-week format, which outpaces the traditional 16-week course. Regis is a private university and maintains regional accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
Each class in the bachelor of science in accounting program serves a specific role in preparing graduates to enter the financial field. The accounting program aims to provide students with a moral, ethical, and intellectual framework and keep up with the ever-changing business world.
The program requires 120 credits, made up of 45 core credits, 24 lower-division credits, 26 upper-division credits, six accounting electives, and 5-18 general electives. Classes include principles of accounting, micro and macroeconomics, business calculus, cost accounting, forensic and fraud audit, and governmental and nonprofit accounting. This program also requires a senior capstone project.
Applicants to Regis must have a high school diploma, transferable credit from a regionally accredited college or university, and prior work experience. Applicants must submit the application form, an application fee, a personal statement,and official transcripts.
University of South Carolina
|Columbia, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 75%||
Students can earn an online bachelor of science in business administration and accounting from the University of South Carolina's Columbia campus. This degree holds programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which is an honor held by fewer than 10% of all business schools. For full-time students this program takes about 2.5 years to complete, but UofSC encourages working students to take lighter course loads.
To apply, students must have 45-60 credits from a regionally accredited institution and a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA. Prerequisites include composition, microeconomics, natural science with a lab, social or behavioral science, and American history and government.
Through this program, students develop written and interpersonal communication skills and learn to navigate ethical issues in accounting and use business technology. This course also qualifies students to take the CPA exam. Classes include principles of marketing; social, ethical, and legal aspects of business; international business; federal tax procedures; corporate income tax; auditing theory; and accounting information systems.
Athens State University
|Athens, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Athens State University in Athens, Alabama, offers a bachelor of science in accounting. This program prepares students to work in both public and private accounting practices, and is offered both with and without a degree. Students who complete this degree without taking a minor qualify for the CPA exam in Alabama immediately upon graduation. Requirements vary between states, so students should check local licensing requirements before enrolling.
Athens State pairs students with academic advisers. Advisers help students develop degree plans and ensure they're qualified for graduation. Students must complete 124 credits with a 2.0 minimum GPA, and at least 51 of those credits must be from a 300-400 level course. Transfer students interested in this program must also have a 2.0 minimum GPA, though they may apply for an appeal with a lower GPA.
This program includes general education classes like writing, mathematics, natural sciences, and history. Major classes include computer applications, principles of accounting, marketing principles, law for accountants, and international business, plus a capstone course in business policy. Students in this program can earn a bachelor of science, an accounting minor, a forensic accounting minor, or an accounting certificate — whichever best suits their career goals.
Old Dominion University
|Norfolk, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, offers one of the best online accounting degrees. The program requires 120 credits, of which students must complete at least 30 credits through ODU. Though there are no on-campus requirements, professors do teach the classes synchronously, meaning students must log in during scheduled class times to watch lectures and engage in class discussion.
ODU requires general education courses covering topics like communication, mathematics, information literacy and research, human creativity, technology, and business basics. Degree-specific classes include principles of financial accounting, micro and macroeconomics, business statistics, and accounting information systems. Additionally, students must complete three credits of accounting electives and 12 credits of general electives.
For tuition, ODU offers similar, affordable rates for both out-of-state and in-state students. Graduates from this versatile program can become treasurers, fraud investigators, auditors, budget analysts, or tax preparers, open private CPA practices, or work in the public or nonprofit sectors.
Golden Gate University
|San Francisco, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Golden Gate University in San Francisco is a private, nonprofit school that offers a bachelor of science in business with a concentration in accounting. This program requires 123 credits, and students can choose between studying online or taking classes on campus. The online option is asynchronous, allowing students to complete work on their own schedules. GGU maintains regional accreditation with the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Applicants to the program must have at least a 3.0 high school GPA and a 2.0 GPA in previous undergraduate coursework, and must submit a resume, personal statement, and official transcripts. GGU also requires applicants to have three years of work experience, but does not require standardized tests like the ACT or SAT.
Credit requirements include 39 general education, 69 major, and 15 elective credits. The program provides students with a background in management and business administration, meaning graduates can become managers or marketing coordinators in addition to accountants. Topics include financial accounting, micro and macroeconomics, statistics, applied regression analysis, consolidations, and accounting research and communication.
For interested online students, GGU offers informational webinars, where students can learn about the program and determine if it is the right choice for them. Webinar attendees receive an application waiver code, which they can use toward their application fees.
Missouri State University
|Springfield, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Missouri State University offers a bachelor of science in accounting. Although MSU resides in Springfield, Missouri, learners can complete this fully online degree from anywhere. Like most online accounting degree programs, MSU's program is asynchronous, meaning learners can complete the degree on their own schedule by watching prerecorded lectures and engaging in online discussion boards rather than participating live.
Applicants must have an AA from an accredited program, and MSU has a specific agreement with OTC Online to help students complete their degrees. The program also requires the following prerequisites: critical and creative thinking using information technology; public speaking; economics; writing; business communications; mathematics; psychology; business statistics; and legal environment of business.
In this program, students can expect to study managerial accounting, organizational behavior and management, computer apps for business, debtor/creditor rights and remedies, strategic management and business policies, and government or nonprofit accounting.
MSU requires 125 credits, and at least 90 of those credits must be general education or elective credits. MSU offers the same online tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students. In addition to the accounting major, students can also complete a minor online, including options for communications or criminology.
Washington State University
|Pullman, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Students can earn a bachelor of arts in accounting from Washington State University from anywhere in the world thanks to this convenient online program. WSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and programmatic accreditation for its online accounting degree comes from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In order to attend WSU, students must earn a 2.5 minimum high school GPA.
Upon enrollment, WSU pairs students with academic advisers, who work with students to help them develop degree plans. Students can attend school part time or full time, and professors teach courses in 16-week intervals.
Accountants must obtain a strong business understanding, which is why this program includes both business and accounting requirements. Business classes include introduction to financial management, principles of management and organization, and business strategy and policy. Accounting classes include cost accounting, taxation, auditing, and accounting and culture. WSU requires 107 credits, but waives general education requirements for individuals with transfer degrees.
Graduates of this program can find work in public accounting, corporate accounting, government agencies, and private business enterprises, usually as chief financial officers, accountants, auditors, or financial advisors. Some graduates become consultants.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
|Amherst, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 77%||
The University of Massachusetts - Amherst opened more than 150 years ago with a single mission to provide scientific agriculture education. Today, the university offers more than 100 bachelor's degree programs, including the bachelor of business administration in accounting.
The online accounting degree, part of the Isenberg School of Management, seeks motivated students with solid time management skills who work well in groups and independently. Coursework gives students the knowledge in accounting, auditing, and tax activities needed to help employers and clients make financial decisions. Armed with an online bachelor's degree in accounting, students seek careers as bank examiners, treasurers, tax specialists, and auditors.
The university requires students to complete 120 credits to graduate, including nine courses and 27 credits in the accounting major. Core business courses build skills in calculus, statistics, management principles, and marketing fundamentals. The accounting major covers financial reporting, financial accounting, individual taxation, and CPA law.
Applicants typically enter the program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, though the school considers life circumstances and work and military experience. The university requires a minimum of 27 transferable credits to enter the accounting bachelor's degree online program. Applications for the online bachelor's degree in accounting must also submit official college transcripts, a personal essay, and resume. Students may transfer a maximum of 75 credits.
The University of Massachusetts - Amherst holds accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business holds accreditation from the Isenberg School.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
|Birmingham, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Affectionately called UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham traces its roots to 1859, when the school opened under the Medical College of Alabama. UAB is the largest research institute in the state's largest city. The university continues to diversify its educational offerings with the online bachelor of science in accounting.
The online accounting degree programs, which are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, arm students with the skills to navigate financial laws and regulations. Students prepare for careers as auditors, financial analysts, tax reviewers, and budget analysts. The programs hold recognition from the Institute of Management Accounts and prepare students for public accountant, management accountant, internal auditor, and fraud examiner certifications.
Students take foundation, core, and elective courses and may finish the degree in as little as four years, though completion depends on the number of courses taken each semester. There are seven core accounting courses and 21 total credits. Coursework covers three financial accounting classes that examine accounting frameworks, liabilities, assets, earnings per share, and cash flow. Learners also study accounting systems, cost accounting, income taxation, and internal auditing.
The online accounting degree gives students a foundation in math and business, studying the business legal environment, available business careers, and business communications. Quantitative analysis, international accounting, and micro and macroeconomics principles prepare learners for workplace challenges.
Applicants must submit proof of a high school diploma or GED, and ACT or SAT test scores.
UAB holds accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Thomas Edison State University
|Trenton, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Since 1972, Thomas Edison State University has offered classes for adults who prefer to take online courses at their convenience. Learners registered in the Trenton, New Jersey, school choose from more than 100 areas of study, including the bachelor of science in business administration in accounting.
The university gears the 120-credit online bachelor's degree in accounting program towards students seeking careers in auditing and accounting. Coursework covers finance principals, business, and the arts and sciences. Online accounting degree classes cover auditing, earning performance analysis, and financial, managerial, and cost accounting.
The accredited online accounting degree has 36 professional business requirements. Learners study financial and managerial accounting and business law. Marketing, management, and computer concepts coursework provides a holistic understanding of organizations. The requirements conclude with a business administration capstone project.
Candidates at least 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED may apply. U.S. military members at least 18 years old may also apply. The university may waive the age requirement for applicants with 24 college credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Students may transfer up to 80 credits and may complete degree requirements with those credits.
Most learners study for their online bachelor's degree in accounting on a part-time basis, meaning program length varies. Tuition costs less for in-state students.
Thomas Edison State University receives accreditation from The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of South Dakota
|Vermillion, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
When legislators approved the formation of the University of South Dakota (USD) in 1862, South Dakota still held territorial status. USD enrollment grew to 500 when South Dakota entered the Union in 1889. The university now offers a range of courses, including the bachelor of business administration in business administration with an emphasis in accounting.
Learners in the accounting bachelor's online program enter USD as general business students. After completing 45 business credits and maintaining a 2.5 GPA, students gain admittance to the Beacom School of Business.
The 120-credit program allows students to complete school work on their own schedule while pursuing a degree that fits their interest. The university offers a program guide that serves as a roadmap so students complete the online bachelor's degree program in accounting in four years. After completing pre-major requirements, learners start advanced business classes in business finance, statistics, and policy and strategy. Coursework examines how to use data and analytics, modern marketing concepts and practices, and organizational theory and behavior.
First-time freshman applicants must be new or soon-to-be high school graduates or possess a GED. Students applying for the online accounting program must not be enrolled in another higher education institution. USD requires a minimum 2.6 high school GPA. Students without these credentials may be admitted by meeting other criteria. Transfer students must complete 24 college credits and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement may obtain probationary status.
The University of South Dakota holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Mary
|Bismarck, ND||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
The Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation brought their ministry to the Dakota territories in 1878. In 1959, the Benedictine order established what grew into the University of Mary. Today, the private university near Bismarck, North Dakota, offers more than 60 undergraduate programs, including the bachelor of science in accounting.
The accounting bachelor's degree online prepares students for a range of financial sector positions. Courses provide study in auditing standards, SEC reporting requirements, and Internal Revenue Service regulations. The online bachelor's degree in accounting, part of the Gary Tharaldson School of Business, explores contemporary global business, how business tools aid decision making, and financial statement preparation. All courses emphasize Benedictine values.
The online accounting degree programs allow certified public accountant candidates to obtain the necessary hours to sit for the CPA exam. The accelerated format allows students to complete their online accounting degree programs in 3.5 years.
The program requires 124 credits. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced accounting courses cover basic financial statements, assets and liabilities, and foreign currency transactions. Classes examine business law and advanced spreadsheets.
To apply, incoming freshmen must have high school or GED transcripts showing a minimum 2.5 GPA and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students with fewer than 24 credits must meet the incoming freshman requirements and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA in college coursework and elementary statistics. Students participate in an internship and career preparation course. The University of Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Irvine, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 79%||
Brandman University in Irvine, California, maintains a vigorous offering of online programs for adult learners who need a flexible study schedule. The university offers the bachelor of business administration in accounting.
The best online accounting degrees offer students the analytical skills to evaluate complex financial tasks while working collaboratively with customers and coworkers. Brandman programs emphasize accounting principles and practices in cost analysis, budgeting, and financial reporting and analysis.
Courses prepare students for jobs in bookkeeping, tax preparation, and payroll services. Individuals can also work as a certified public accountant in retail, finance, real estate, insurance, or manufacturing. The university offers the online bachelor's degree in accounting in an online or hybrid format.
Students take 120 credits to complete the online accounting degree. Prior to entering accounting courses, students complete general education requirements in English, humanities, and liberal arts.
The accounting emphasis contains seven courses with 21 credits. Cost analysis and budgeting, auditing, income taxation, and accounting information systems complement intermediate and basic accounting courses. Upper-level courses challenge learners with business law, leadership and professional ethics, and the legal and global business environment.
Applicants must present official college transcripts showing a minimum of 12 transferable bachelor's-level credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. All transcripts must come from a regionally accredited institution. Students who do not meet the transfer credit requirements may earn 12 credits in a special Brandman program.
The WASC Senior College and University Commission confers accreditation to Brandman University.
|Auburn, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 77%||
Auburn University opened in 1859. The Alabama institution closed during the Civil War, developed into a land grant institution, and grew its footprint to more than 1,800 acres in the city of Auburn. The university continues to grow with its online offering, including the bachelor of science in business administration - accountancy, which is open to second degree-seeking candidates.
Auburn designed the accounting bachelor's degree online for working professionals seeking an accounting career or seeking to fulfill the certified public accountant (CPA) education requirements. Students with a degree from a business school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business qualify for the program. Candidates must also meet prerequisite requirements for business foundation courses.
Learners working full time may complete the Auburn accounting program's 30-credit course in five semesters, as students take an average of two classes per semester. Graduates prepare themselves for careers as tax or managerial accountants, financial managers, and internal auditors.
Auburn started offering the online accounting degree in 2000, and the program remains part of the Harbert College of Business.
Learners study cost accounting, auditing and assurance services, and accounting information systems. Coursework examines federal taxation, auditing standards, ethics, and reports, and government and nonprofit accounting. For those preparing for the CPA exam, Auburn offers an exam overview, a look at exam content, passing rates, and sample tests and tutorials. Students may also access a job board and career preparation materials.
Auburn holds accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
|Virginia Beach, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University opened with 77 students in 1978 to provide education and Christian leadership. The university now offers more than 130 programs, including online offerings such as the bachelor of science in business - accounting.
The online bachelor's degree in accounting prepares students for financial and accounting careers with classes in financial reporting and auditing and management. Graduates qualify for careers in management, accounting, and credit analysis. Jobs as chief sustainability officers, sales managers, and general and operations managers await qualified graduates.
Coursework examines accounting information systems, federal income tax law, financial management, and cost accounting. Business classes study financial management, business statistics, and business law. Math courses study statistics, calculus, algebra, and discrete mathematics. Holding true to the school's principles and values, Regent students take courses in Christian leadership and worldview and philosophy.
Regent's accounting bachelor's degree online requires students to complete 120 credits to graduate. Learners who wish to sit for the certified public accountant exam take an additional six credits to meet requirements for taking the test.
Regent's online accounting degree is ideal for students age 24 and older. To apply, learners submit transcripts from high school or GED completion and any completed college credits. The business program holds accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges confers accreditation to Regent University.
Touro University Worldwide
|Los Alamitos, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
The brief history of Touro University Worldwide started in 1998 based on Judaic values. In a short time, Touro, with offices in Los Alamitos, California, offers a bachelor of science in business administration and management.
In addition to the core classes, the online bachelor's degree in accounting prepares students for leadership roles in organizations through essential management concepts and techniques. Equipped with these skills, graduates find opportunities in cash management and accounting, financial reporting and analysis, and financial accounting.
Coursework explores how to design a SWOT analysis, the importance of a diverse workforce, ethical and legal issues in operations management, and teamwork. The accounting bachelor's degree online teaches students how to conduct research using databases and hone financial and accounting knowledge to assess an organization's performance.
Students pursuing an online accounting degree take courses in eight-week intervals and need 120 credits to graduate. Students take 39 core business credits and 12 accounting credits. Core business courses examine management theory and ethics, organizational behavior, and strategic management. Business statistics, financing and budgeting, and business law provide additional learning. Electives in supply chain management, data analysis and decision making, and medical facilities management result in additional educational expertise.
The four accounting courses, three credits each, cover two financial accounting courses, accounting information systems, and cash management. Students in the online bachelor's degree in accounting program complete a capstone project.
Full-time students in the online accounting programs complete the degree in 3.5 years, while part-time students take seven years.
Touro University holds accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Fort Hays State University
|Hays, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Fort Hays State University started educating students in 1889 with an abandoned army post serving as its first building. Today the Hays, Kansas, institution boasts more than 15,000 students in a range of on-campus and online programs. In 2016, Fort Hays launched the online bachelor of business administration in accounting.
Online accounting degree coursework prepares students for entry-level accounting careers in the financial, auditing, tax, and cost sector. Graduates obtain the skills to analyze accounting problems and formulate solutions. Students find jobs in accounts payable as supervisors, internal auditors, and staff accountants.
The accounting bachelor's degree coursework requires students to complete 124 credits to graduate. Of those, students complete 27 credits of business core courses and 30 credits in the accounting major.
Fort Hays launched the program for working professionals seeking career advancement. Business core courses cover accounting, management, and marketing principles, and managerial business law and policy. The online bachelor's degree in accounting major courses examine cost accounting, accounting information systems, auditing, and income tax procedure. Accounting elective courses allow learners to explore fraud examination, CPA problems, accounting ethics, and government and institutional accounting.
Incoming freshman applicants must complete Kansas' qualified admission requirements with a minimum 2.0 GPA and either submit ACT or SAT scores, or rank in the top third of their high school graduating class. Transfer students must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA on college coursework and, if under age 21, meet freshman admission requirements.
Fort Hays State University holds accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
SUNY College at Plattsburgh
|Plattsburgh, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Plattsburgh sits on Cumberland Bay in upstate New York. State University of New York - Plattsburgh (SUNY) first opened as a teaching college in 1889 and has since grown to offer 60 degree programs in three academic schools. The university offers an online bachelor of science in accounting.
The best online accounting degree programs provide a strong accounting foundation that transfers to the workplace. SUNY graduates qualify for positions in public and corporate accounting, government, and nonprofits. Coursework prepares students to sit for the certified public accountant exam and continue their education at the graduate level.
The online accounting degree requires students to take 75 major credits as part of the 120-credit graduation requirement. Coursework covers financial, managerial, and cost accounting, micro and macroeconomics, and business statistics. Learners study strategic management, marketing principles, and management principles. Electives allow students to explore accounting research and theory, income tax, and international accounting.
The program's writing component teaches students effective communication skills and the career development component gives learners the skills to compete for job opportunities.
The online bachelor's degree appeals to adults balancing work and school. Students use an associate degree as a springboard to the SUNY program. Candidates may transfer up to 67 credits from a two-year college and a maximum of 84 credits from all other institutions. Students must pass a business exit exam to graduate. Learners in the online bachelor's degree in accounting program may choose to complete an internship.
SUNY Plattsburgh holds accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
|Natchitoches, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Northwestern State University (NSU) opened classes in a mansion in 1884 in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The mansion remains open as the state's oldest continually occupied higher education site. Over the years, NSU offerings expanded to include online classes, including the bachelor of science in accounting.
The online accounting degree program prepares students for careers in financial, managerial, cost, or government accounting, auditing, and accounting information systems. Classes cover business operations and the analytical tools used to help make management decisions. Upon graduation, students meet all requirements to sit for the certified public accountant exam.
The university provides students in the online bachelor's degree in accounting program a roadmap starting freshman year that leads to graduation. Classes contain a mix of required and major courses. Accounting and business courses cover economic, business administration, computer information systems, and a range of courses that provide a depth of understanding in accounting.
The program requires learners to complete 120 credits for graduation. Freshman applicants from Louisiana with a minimum 2.35 GPA do not need to report SAT or ACT scores. Out-of-state admission requirements depend on GPA and standardized test scores. Transfer students need an associate degree or 18 college-level credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university offers a complete list of admission requirements on its website. NSU offers several admission options for out-of-state students and may admit students on a conditional basis. The university also offers options for transfer students and nontraditional learners age 25 and older.
NSU's Business College holds accreditation from the Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business International. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges also confers accreditation to the university.
- WHAT IS THE BEST ONLINE UNIVERSITY FOR AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE?
BestColleges.com ranks Touro University Worldwide at number one for best online accounting programs, but each school is different. Students should make sure that their prospective school will help them succeed and meet their goals. Read more here..
- HOW MUCH DO ACCOUNTANTS MAKE WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that in 2016, accountants and auditors made a median annual salary of $68,150. Read more here..
- HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING?
Most bachelor's programs take about four years to complete, but some schools offer their online accounting degree in an accelerated format, which allows students to earn their degree quicker. Read more here..
- HOW DO I GET AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE ONLINE?
After gaining admittance, students must complete all curriculum requirements, which may include a capstone project or internship. Requirements will vary between program, so studen`ts should check with their prospective schools for more details. Read more here..
- WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE?
Graduates with a bachelor's in accounting are prepared for many positions, including certified public accountant, staff accountant, and financial controller. Read more here..
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE ACCOUNTING DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
An online accounting program will cover fundamental accounting principles, including cost management and analysis, taxation, accounting information systems, auditing, financial management, and income tax preparation. Students who graduate with a bachelor's in accounting will be prepared for most entry-level jobs in the industry. Keep in mind, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all practicing accountants to obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. The best online accounting degree programs prepare students for the state-issued CPA exam and other post-college requirements.
WILL AN ONLINE ACCOUNTING DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
Online bachelor's in accounting programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional learning. Students can download course readings and lectures, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current technology also allows them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other devices with Wi-Fi capabilities. Many online programs are taught in an accelerated format, allowing distance learners to complete all required courses in just two or three years.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING?
Students who graduate with a bachelor's in accounting and meet all of their state's CPA requirements will be ready to enter the job market. Many pursue careers as general public accountants, serving a range of individual and organizational clients. Graduates with a strong background in business and finance may lean toward management accounting, while those with a keen eye and proficient analytical skills may choose to become auditors.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Accounting Program?
All online accounting degrees help students become more skilled and precise financial experts, but these programs are not created equal. Online accounting programs can vary in the style of instruction, curriculum requirements, course scheduling, cost, completion time, and degree specialization offerings.
CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING
|Concentration||Description||Careers This Concentration Prepares For|
|Managerial Accounting||A concentration in managerial accounting focuses on corporate accounting topics, such as pensions, taxes, and income. Students learn about accounting errors and issues as well as managing large cash flows.||Business accountant, managerial accountant|
|Tax Accountancy||Tax accounting focuses on paying taxes. Specializing in tax accountancy means an in-depth look at tax rules and laws and understanding how to use these rules for a business or individual.||Tax preparation, business tax accountant, government accountant, auditing|
|Public Accountancy||Many students who specialize in public accounting are preparing to become CPAs. Public accounting covers a wide range of subjects, from personal taxes to corporate finance.||Certified public accountant, corporate accountant|
|Fraud and Forensic Accounting||A concentration in fraud and forensic accounting focuses on accounting and tax law and how it is broken. Students will take more classes on law than in other concentrations.||Forensic accountant, accounting law expert, fraud detection specialist|
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING
Every program is slightly different than the other, but they will have students take a similar set of classes. Below is a sample curriculum of what you can expect.
- Accounting: Accounting degree online programs will feature many courses that teach students about the theory and practical methods of accounting for various parties. Introductory to advanced courses will cover subjects such as bankruptcy, mergers, estates and trusts, payroll management, consignments, and business consolidation.
- Business Law: This is an important course for students seeking a career in tax or forensic accounting. Business law underscores many accounting practices.
- Auditing: Students earning online accounting degrees are usually required to take some courses in auditing. Particularly important for fraud detection accountants, auditing is an important way to insulate people and businesses from risk.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING?
Many of the best online colleges for accounting offer accelerated, individually paced formats for working professionals. A bachelor's degree in accounting typically requires about 120 credits and takes about four years to complete. This includes general education requirements. There are a number of factors that can affect completion time, such as capstone work, academic terms organization, and whether class are taught asynchronously or synchronously. A major factor for an accounting degree online is the post-graduate exams that students take for certification.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs
When picking an online accounting degree, accreditation is one of the most important factors. When a school or program is accredited, it means that it has met a set of standards set by peer institutions, industry experts, and the government. Accreditation translates to a degree and education that is respected and legitimate.
Colleges and Universities can be accredited either nationally or regionally. Often, online schools are accredited nationally and traditional colleges and universities are regionally accredited. National accreditation is earned by agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a nongovernmental organization made up of higher education leaders who set accreditation standards. Regional accreditation is earned by one of six agencies in the U.S. based on location. These agencies are recognized by CHEA and the Department of Education (DOE). The DOE does not accredit schools, but it works to oversee accreditation practices and set standards. Students can learn which schools are accredited from the DOE's or the CHEA's website.
Individual programs can also be accredited. Many accounting degree online programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These industry-led organizations accredit business and accounting programs in schools around the U.S.
CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A BACHELOR'S IN ACCOUNTING PREPARES FOR
Gaining a degree from an accredited school or program is especially important for accounting students because of its necessity for certification. Certifications are a crucial step in the path to becoming an accountant. An undergraduate education is not enough for long-term accounting employment. To officially become a professional accountant and specialize in an area, graduates must pass exams and meet requirements from industry groups to gain certifications. Below are some of the most popular certifications.
- Certified Public Accountant: The CPA is one of the most common certifications for accountants. It requires a sixteen hour test that covers business law, auditing practices, financial accounting and reporting, and taxation. This certification is a step toward gaining license in a state or district.
- Certified Managerial Accountant: The CMA is administered by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. It includes courses on managerial accounting and tests a student's knowledge on the subject to determine professional ability.
- Certified Fraud Examiner: The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers the CFE credential to students who can pass an exam and have two years of fraud detection experience. To maintain the credential, students must gain continuing education credits.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Accounting
Source: PayScale; Collected August 2015
Due to the steady demand for qualified and certified accountants, the employment outlook in this profession is strong. According to a recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 61% of accounting majors in 2013 had received at least one job offer by graduation. Only two majors reported higher job-offer rates: computer science and economics. U.S. News & World Report also notes that accountants face just a 3.2% unemployment rate; the national unemployment rate is currently estimated at 5.0%.
The table below compares unemployment rates among various professions listed in USNWR's 'Best Business Jobs' ranking.
|Occupation||Unemployment Rate (2016)|
|Operations Research Analyst||3.8%|
|Business Operations Manager||3.7%|
|Market Research Analyst||2.4%|
Source: U.S. News & World Report
Additionally, the BLS projects that the number of accounting jobs will rise by 142,400 positions (or roughly 11%) between 2014 and 2024.
Earning a Living
The BLS notes that accountants and auditors in the United States earn a median annual salary of $67,190 which is $32.30 per hour. However, your earning potential will depend on several factors, including your specific degree pathway and professional experience. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the table below looks at salary expectations for six different accounting majors at two key career stages.
|Major Field of Study||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)|
|Accounting and Finance||$52,800||$86,400|
|Accounting and Management||$48,700||$70,800|
|Accounting and Business||$45,200||$70,500|
|Business Administration and Accounting||$44,900||$67,500|
All six of the majors listed above experienced at least 45% salary growth after 10 years in the workforce. Financial accounting majors experienced the highest rate of growth -- 81.8% -- followed by accounting and finance majors at 63.6% and general accounting majors at 61.9%.
In addition to their major field of study, salary expectations for accountants also vary by specific job title. The next table explores career salary growth rates among five of the most common accounting career pathways.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)|
|Certified Public Accountant (CPA)||$52,908||$64,716||$75,839||$83,810|
Of the five professions listed above, CPAs experienced the highest career salary growth rate, an increase of roughly 58.4% between their first job and late-career.
Career and Further Education Opportunities
College graduates with a bachelor's degree in accounting will be qualified for dozens of jobs once they have completed the CPA requirements in their home state. The accounting and auditing profession is outlined below, along with three other common careers for accounting degree recipients.
Accountants and Auditors: Whether working for individual clients or a multinational organization, accountants are responsible for monitoring financial records and ensuring that their employer is compliant with all relevant tax laws. Auditors are accountants who specialize in analyzing financial data and recognizing patterns or discrepancies. Accountants and auditors typically work a more rigorous schedule than employees in other fields; according to the BLS, one in four works more than 40 hours per week.
Management Analysts: These analysts explore how companies and organizations can optimize their workflow, boost profits, and maximize efficiency. In order to achieve these goals, management analysts gather organizational data, interview personnel, and present their findings to executives and managers in different departments. Many analysts specialize in management subfields, such as supply chain management or financial accounting.
Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate: Appraisers and assessors evaluate homes, corporate buildings, and other properties to determine their value. According to the BLS, appraisals and assessments influence the way property is "sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.” Appraisers working with federal transactions must become certified or licensed at the state level; assessors must also be certified in some states.
Budget Analysts: Budget analysts specialize in organizing and preparing financial records for companies and organizations with sizable budgets. First they review and approve their employer's budget proposals, and then work to actualize the goals of these proposals. More than 40% of the nation's budget analysts work for federal, state, or local government departments and agencies.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary||Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)|
|Accountants and Auditors||$67,190||11% (+142,000 jobs)|
|Management Analysts||$83,120||14% (+103,400 jobs)|
|Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate||$51,860||8% (+6,800 jobs)|
|Budget Analysts||$71,590||3% (+1,500 jobs)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in accounting often go on to pursue a master's degree. For more information about opportunities for grad students, please visit our Guide to Online MBA Programs.
Making connections and learning all you can about accounting is crucial to your professional success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for accounting professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
- The American Accounting Association: Celebrating 100 years in 2016, the AAA is an international organization representing more than 7,000 members in dozens of countries. The association's website features a robust career center with a rotating pool of roughly 200 job openings from across the country, along with a peer-reviewed journal and links to professional development courses.
- National Society of Accountants: The NSA strives to provide advocacy, continuing education opportunities, and ethical oversight for professional accountants throughout the nation. Members receive access to a range of accounting- and tax-related resources, along with discounts on webinar courses, conference entry fees, and other services.
- American Institute of CPAs: Considered the world's largest professional organization for accounting professionals, the AICPA represents more than 400,000 members in 144 countries. The institute's website features study guides, practice exams, and other resources for bachelor's graduates who have yet to take their CPA exam, as well as a career center for certified job candidates.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Accounting Program
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.